Focus on: Button Batteries

3 Feb 2016

Following the death of a two-year-old girl on Boxing Day, we’re scaling up our campaign on button batteries and need your help.

“They operated on her for two and a half hours, but they couldn’t stop the bleeding. They believed the battery (acid) ate through to her carotid artery by way of her esophagus… We had no idea when she swallowed it.”

- Grandfather of Brianna Florer, aged 2.

Brianna died on Boxing Day after what her grandfather described as ‘a perfect Christmas’. Her tragic story was reported in the Metro which described how, while at her grandparents’ house, Brianna’s skin turned blue and she started to vomit blood.

The quote from Brianna’s grandfather is a very accurate and chilling description of the severe trauma a button battery – something commonly found in the majority of homes – can cause to a child’s body.

In the run up to Christmas, CAPT sent an email about button battery safety illustrated by a shocking image of a battery burning through a slice of ham.

In West Sussex, West Sussex Trading Standards built on an earlier initiative where they sent a poster (pictured) to all GP surgeries across the county, by:

  • issuing a press release to local media which was covered widely by local newspapers and radio stations
  • buying around 20 toys and child appealing decorations for testing to see that the battery compartment was sufficiently secure. 

Button Battery Safety Poster from West Sussex

Peter Aston, Trading Standards Team Manager for West Sussex Trading Standards, said:

“For West Sussex County Council, ‘Start of Life’ is one of its three priority areas.  Keeping children safe from injury caused by hazardous products is just one way that Trading Standards fits into this bigger picture – hence our attempts to raise awareness of the risks to children posed by button batteries, detergent liquitabs, blind cords and nappy sacks. 

“In addition we tackle the supply of unsafe consumer products and can prosecute traders who do not comply with the law,” he added.

In Tameside, the trading standards and public health teams joined forces to raise awareness, sending out a press release in the run up to Christmas and posting information on Tameside Council’s Facebook page.

These two bite-size case studies are a fantastic example of how, on your own or in partnership with others, you can roll out a simple but effective safety campaign in just three steps:

  1. Contact local trading standards and public health teams to help get button batteries on their agenda. Contact the news desks of local newspapers and radio stations about your campaign. Be prepared to be quoted and supply an image, such as this image of a slice of ham.
  2. Link to CAPT’s trusted and accessible safety information through online channels and social media.
  3. Distribute printed safety materials through children’s centres, health centres, GP surgeries, nurseries, playgroups and other community groups. We’ve got three eye-catching resources:

Button battery safety pack

One poster and 50 ‘Your child and button batteries’ flyers to hand out or display – all you need for a button battery safety campaign. Just £16 plus £3.75 P&P

Button battery safety poster

Put up one of our full-colour posters in your centre or clinic or better still, send out a poster to multiple settings. Now just £1.25 for one poster; £6 for five posters.

Your child and button batteries

50  copies of CAPT’s ‘Your child and button batteries’ flyer for parents. Just £7.45 plus P&P

Get recognition for your work. We can co-brand any of our resources with your local authority or department’s logo. Simply email us for a quote.

And don’t forget to tell us how you get on – you may even feature as our next case study!